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View Full Version : Good spots for rare bourbon in Tokyo?



humchan2k
05-13-2013, 14:42
I'm headed out manana to Japan to spend some time with friends and the wifey...does anyone out there know good places to go hunting? I got into bourbon when I lived in Japan, used to drink Maker's Mark black wax all the time, it was stellar...but apparently no longer made. I'm hoping to find some places in Shinjuku/Shibuya area that are known for having great bottles, but I'll also drop in on small mom/pop spots if I have to.....any suggestions of what to bring back? I already have IW Harper 12 yr, thought maybe I'd get the 4R stuff.....thanks in advance for the help! Oh, and by the way, am I the only person having problems using the return/enter key? IE doesn't seem to let me use the return key anymore!?!?

HighInTheMtns
05-13-2013, 14:47
If it were me I'd be after age stated Turkeys.

But first, and far more importantly, I would stop using IE. Both Chrome and Firefox are much better options.

humchan2k
05-13-2013, 14:53
Yeah, I thought about some WT 12, but I'm not really a big Turkey style fan....dunno why, but it just doesn't send me. Maybe if I get a 12 at the duty free that will change my opinion, but I'm more looking for weird stuff.

I know that Japan consumes more bourbon than we do, would hope there should be some good spots to find, no?

Oh, and yeah...Firefox is better. :)

callmeox
05-13-2013, 15:36
Have you ever met SB member Koji?

I recommend sending him a PM to ask for tips. He may be able to hook you up.

humchan2k
05-13-2013, 15:59
Have you ever met SB member Koji?

I recommend sending him a PM to ask for tips. He may be able to hook you up.

PM sent to Koji, thanks for the info, Ox!

If worse comes to worst, I'll just try to grab a bottle of Blanton's cask strength, I *think* that's sold in Japan, that'd be awesome.

arthur
05-13-2013, 17:43
I have the phone number and address of a store selling a lot of american stuff. they even advertise IW Harper that hasent been bottled since the early 90s. I dont know how to post the address on here and it is in japanese but you can contact me tajjs@mtaonline.net and i will forward the site to you. I am new to this site and not too savy about it so bear with me. Art Jennings, Wasilla, Alaska

c2walker
05-13-2013, 17:47
There are a handful of good stores in the Shinjuku area (and one great bourbon bar), but I can't for the life of me remember any names.

barturtle
05-13-2013, 17:56
You should be able to find Koji at Bar Sal's (assuming he's still there)

The blog is for both locations.

http://craftheads.blog88.fc2.com/

humchan2k
05-13-2013, 18:49
Thanks for the help, SB community! While Bar Sal's seems solid, that's actually not in Tokyo proper, it's in Kawasaki, which is significantly west of town...so I'll just dig around Shibuya and Shinjuku and see what I can turn up. However, I'm definitely gonna hit up that shop!

Wryguy
05-13-2013, 19:05
I actually just read this post over at TWE and then I saw your thread. Don't know if any of these places are too convenient for you, but if you like the dark side of whiskey it might be a good time. I for one want to try the three-gin Negroni, but there's no way I'm ever going to have two bottles of beefeater gin on hand.

http://blog.thewhiskyexchange.com/2013/04/twe-karuizawa-whisky-trip-pt-8-japanese-whisky-bars/

mopgcw
05-14-2013, 21:58
having lived in tokyo for a while, albeit some time ago, i would look for scotch and great japanese whiskey. Bar Muku in nishi azabu has some of the rarest scotch you will ever find, wild wild stuff if it still open. the oak door in roppingi hills has some great selections of japanese whiskeys as well. enjoy.

black mamba
05-15-2013, 07:51
I've no idea about where to go, but would sure love a review of any of the 4R labels available only in Japan. Seems entirely unfair that you can't even get them at the gift shop in KY.

c2walker
05-15-2013, 08:18
I've no idea about where to go, but would sure love a review of any of the 4R labels available only in Japan. Seems entirely unfair that you can't even get them at the gift shop in KY.

You can't buy them at the gift shop, but you can try them at the gift shop. We (Americans) aren't missing anything.

black mamba
05-15-2013, 08:24
Thanks, walker, didn't know that. Next time . . . .

StraightBoston
05-15-2013, 09:53
Thanks for the help, SB community! While Bar Sal's seems solid, that's actually not in Tokyo proper, it's in Kawasaki, which is significantly west of town...so I'll just dig around Shibuya and Shinjuku and see what I can turn up. However, I'm definitely gonna hit up that shop!

Koji's other bar Craftheads is in Shibuya past Tower Records from the train station -- well worth a visit (I'll be there at some point next week!)

Boylston on Meiji-dori in Shibuya (other side of tracks behind Tower) is smaller with a smaller selection but some interesting dusty expressions.

Last time I went shopping, I hit Shinanoya in Shinjuku and Yamaya in Shibuya. The place to go apparently is Tanakaya in Mejiro (though I've never been myself.)

MM Black is long gone, but you should find plenty of Blanton's varieties, 12+ yo HH in many many labels, FR Platinum which has a "balanced" palate and finish for Japanese tastes, and 8yo and 12yo WT -- although the last time I went, it was cheaper in the US duty-free!

Jackinbox
05-15-2013, 09:57
You can't buy them at the gift shop, but you can try them at the gift shop. We (Americans) aren't missing anything.Forgive me, as I'm brand new to Bourbon, but what's the reason that there are so many "export only" bourbons? My neighbor tried to tell me that "all the best stuff gets sent to Japan". I'm sure that isn't true, but I just wondered why they would prevent these from being available here?

StraightBoston
05-15-2013, 10:57
Forgive me, as I'm brand new to Bourbon, but what's the reason that there are so many "export only" bourbons? My neighbor tried to tell me that "all the best stuff gets sent to Japan". I'm sure that isn't true, but I just wondered why they would prevent these from being available here?

I've been a beneficiary in my overseas travels, and have returned several bottles to their country of birth in my time. I wouldn't say "all" the best stuff, but some of it is very very good.

My theory is based on marketing: if by age (and therefore angel's share) and/or quality threshold you have a limited supply of something, it makes sense to find a small enough market and/or high enough price to balance demand against your limited supply. (Think gift-shop and duty-free-only expressions.) Japan fits the bill nicely, especially given their familiarity with extra-aged Scotch and Japanese whiskies.

Barrel_Proof
05-19-2013, 17:09
12+ yo HH in many many labels, ... .

... which those greenhorn fat cats on that FB Bourbon Exchange group will be drooling over for no reason whatsoever! :lol:

humchan2k
05-28-2013, 13:43
Well, after going around Tokyo for 2 weeks, I came home with only a single bottle of bourbon. I'd have brought back some 12 year Turkey, but it seems that bourbon just isn't a big draw in Japan like it used to be, as they no longer sell any Turkey at duty free shops at Haneda! The only bourbon for sale is IW Harper 12 year, which I already have 2 bottles of, and it's not that amazing...you can find WT12 in Japan still, but my logistics just didn't work out well enough to haul a lot back. I did, however, bring good sake home too :)

Check it out - 4R Super Premium. 86 proof. Don't know the age or even what yeast it is, but it's a decent pour neat....wish it were 95 proof as opposed to 86 tho.